Self-Care 101

This Fall I was rocked hard. I lost my Mom, the most wonderful women / person / teacher I knew. 

I quickly fell into grieving and depression and put my business on hold until I could come back authentically and in a serving place. 

In order to get through my every day, I discovered new ways of practicing self-care that actually had an effect on my overall mood and ability to cope with life. I developed my self-care practice, which was heavily weighted with mindfulness and movement.

In focusing on myself, and letting go of "shoulds" and "expectations", I began to feel better. 

The depression fog was slowly but surely lifted and I had discovered a new love. Me. 

Also the love for spending time being mindful, to feel in to my body, to relax, to let go, to ponder, to be - before all else. With consistent practice, I saw my body change in pleasing ways, I wasn't emotionally eating or eating too much for me, I had more creative ideas then I could handle, and I had the energy and bravery to tackle my most anxiety-producing tasks.

The gift I received in all the devastation was learning to care for myself. And in doing that, I can now teach you to do the same.

Self-care isn't just for times of struggle. It is an on-going practice. When you are low, it will help you get to your base, and when you are at base it will help you get to extraordinary new heights.

In all my work as a coach and my personal evolution journey, this has created the biggest shift in me.

Please join me in creating a self-care practice for yourself. 

I will be teaching more about self-care online and in person. Your first in-person chance to learn is Tuesday, May 29th at 6:30 pm at the Forks in Winnipeg. RSVP in the meetup group.

Join the meetup group to stay updated on in-person and online events. 

The Unexpected Power in a Beautiful Cry

Our society has a stigma against crying.

A child gets hurt in gym class and runs away crying while others pretend not to notice. An upset woman screams, "don't look at me!", as she ugly cries into a tub of Ben & Jerry's in a TV comedy. A father holds back after his son is born because real men don't cry.

All stunted and depreciating those experiences for us. Sending subliminal messages to ourselves and those around us that this is not OK.

But, what if it were OK? What if it was not only OK, but it was the answer to truth, love, and healing?

I think we've misunderstood the power in a good, honest cry. And the magic that can happen when you share it with others.

For starters, it ALWAYS makes you feel better. ALWAYS. It is a natural way to relieve stress and even a healthy thing to do. It is a release of those emotions that hit us so deeply there is nothing else to do with them. Trying to ignore feelings or fight off tears can actually create a greater stress and emotional pull on you.

What I want to talk about today, is the power that comes in a beautiful cry. A true, unwavering tear that appears in your eye when you open up, let yourself be vulnerable and hit on the very truth of your being. Something that moves you to your core. 

In my experience, when I talk about something important and meaningful to me I start to feel my eyes water and my throat gets tense. And for the majority of my life thus far, I've tried to fight those tears. I was embarrassed to let those around me see the emotion. I thought it made me look weak.

When I approach those situations from that place of the inner critic, instead of being present, I'm consumed with the appearance of the scene. "Stop crying", "I can't believe you're crying right now", "This is so embarrassing". Thinking like this only makes matters worse, I can't get any sort of reasonable message across and the crying becomes the self-pity kind instead of the powerful, meaningful, purposeful, kind.

Recently though, as I've been practicing authenticity, tuning into my intuition and being vulnerable, I have learned to use watery eyes as a sign of hitting on something REALLY IMPORTANT for me. They represent either a belief in my heart, a core value I hold close, or a truth I have just discovered and felt in my body for the first time. It's a place to explore and get curious, not a place to run away from. And when I can stand confidently in my tears, and boldly continue to communicate with others, magic happens.

These type of tears are quiet and dignified. I have even learned to smile through them (this makes others more comfortable as well).

It's a way to show others what is important to your heart. There is an instant understanding that they have when they can see how authentic and truthful you are being. And it actually inspires them to lower their guard and authentically open up as well.

As a coach, some of the most profound moments of enlightenment I see for clients is when they first make that meaningful connection out loud and it brings them to tears. In that moment, my job is to pass the kleenex and hold the space for them to sit with it. Not to awkwardly look away while they compose themselves or try to distract them with something else. THIS is where the growth happens.

For myself, one of my bravest moments of tears and transformation was last summer when I was doing my intensive coach training. The instructor described a coaching NLP exercise he was going to demonstrate with a student. As he described the benefits of this technique my heart started racing. An immediate sign that this was something I needed to do. It was an exercise to help someone break a habit that is getting in their way. The way he described it, I knew for me that this meant my habit of being socially anxious - most notably felt in large crowds.

When he finally asked for a volunteer, my hand shot straight up before he could even finish the question. By this time, I was shaking.

I jumped up to volunteer and as I sat down at the front of the class my heart was racing, my arms were full of goosebumps, I was shaking and my legs couldn't stop swinging from the bottom of the stool. This was a big moment. We were going to be tackling a large gremlin of mine.

The TAs in the room could tell and offered me tissues before we began - which I appreciated. The instructor asked me a variety of questions related to this fear and I was honest and vulnerable. As we got closer to the root of the matter the tears were starting and I was embracing my beautiful cry. I was lucky enough to be in a room full of amazing, caring coaches who I loved - but I still had to tune them all out to allow myself to really feel what was going on for me. The instructor asked if I needed a moment but I smiled and said "No." and encouraged him to keep going.

We carried on and I pushed past the scary parts into the amazing parts with new confidence and strength. The whole class was pin-droppingly quiet and I could tell how this experience was affecting them too. It was truly life changing for me.  Apparently, after the exercise, when the class was practicing, everybody brought their A-game both as coach and client. Seeing my vulnerability and expression of emotion allowed them to show theirs. 

If I hadn't let myself go there, if I hadn't raised my hand when I felt something, and if I had tried to fight the tears I wouldn't have had such a powerful result.

I mentioned this was for social anxiety... you should have seen the way I floated out of that class room into the packed marketplace that is Granville Island at lunch time on Saturday. Radiating, beaming, being completely myself and completely comfortable with everyone around me. Even smiling at people and saying "Hello!" A totally new experience for me.

In another post, I will let you know the copious progress I've made with my social anxiety since.

I wanted to share this with you because of a great podcast episode I heard recently on gender gaps in the workplace. There was a line at then end that irked me. They mentioned that many managers hate giving feedback because (as a generalization) they are scared that the men will get angry and that the women will cry.

Then they said, "Practice not crying", as advice to women.

Obviously, I disagree. I say PRACTICE CRYING! And practice letting others see you cry. And practice noticing what that crying teaches you about yourself.

You will be surprised of the power and results that will turn up from a strong cry. Every time I do it, I walk away stronger and more aware than before. 

If a masculine energy leadership style is dominant and competitive, perhaps a feminine energy leadership style is vulnerable, honest and emotive.

Next time you see someone crying, don't shy away. Embrace them, listen to them, and encourage them to keep going so their soul can sort itself out. 

Make it a Game That You Can Win

Are you the type of person who has things always seeming to go your way? Or, are you the type of person who is constantly coming in last, with nothing working in your favour, and the world is out to get you?

It might not be that black and white but my point is: we don't just have luck, we make it.

Make it a game that you can win

If you related more to the first suggestion, you are probably fairly optimistic, positive and grateful for what you have in your life. You see the opportunities all around you and you actively take advantage of them. 

If you related more to the second example, you are probably making life too hard for yourself. The world isn't out to get you - your mindset is!

We each view the world through our own unique filters and paradigms. If you are running negative programming in your head, you're going to get negative results. The great news is, you can change your thoughts and feelings and therefore your results! (But you already knew that - avid reader of my blog ;) ).

Let me explain.

My boyfriend and I adopted a puppy a few months ago. Holy moly, I was not expecting all the responsibility that came along with all the cuteness. Sure, I expected the walking, feeding and pooping, but there was also veterinarians, allergies (both hers and mine), insurance, food, and training to consider.

In decided to keep Layla after discovering my allergies, I've learned a lot about my own health. I've had to experiment to find out how to cure my allergies (or at least make them bearable) and it's come down to food and gut health and regular visits to the Naturopathic doctor - a blessing in disguise. I've started to make the changes I couldn't get myself to do for years. But that's for another post...

We decided to do our own positive "clicker training" at home with Layla. I'm all about positive mindsets, so when we found a book called "The Power of Positive Dog Training" I was all in.

In this book, the author describes how positive dog training works and gives many tips for training different behaviours. The idea is that you reinforce good behaviours with rewards and you take away rewards or good things when they exhibit unwanted behaviours - sort of like their privilege to look out the window. Dogs (just like us) want to make good things happen. So, when they want to jump up to greet you and get attention, you simply turn your back to them thus taking away the attention and they quickly get the idea that sitting is a better way to get your attention and affection.

I started this book while I was still on the ice coaching skaters in the spring and I found myself giving them many more verbal "yes" cues when they did what I wanted. I really wanted to click... something to experiment with next season!

The inspiration for this particular post came from something the author said; when training a new behaviour, make it a game your dog can win. Don't try to trick your dog or expect too much because they will get frustrated, bored or just walk away. Instead, gradually increase the criteria they are expected to reach for the desired behaviour you are training.

For example, when training "stay", don't just say it then walk to the other side of the room! Practice staying still in sit position, then practice it for a few seconds, then a few more seconds, then maybe you back up one step, then maybe a few more steps - but as soon as she follows you, you've gone too far and start the process over. The goal is for you to make it a game your dog can win - giving her many rewards and treats along the way - this is much more fun for both of you!

This got me thinking on how it applies to us. We put unrealistic expectations on ourselves ALL THE TIME and get frustrated and switch directions when it doesn't work out. SEE, I'M NOT A MILLIONAIRE YET AND I STARTED MY BUSINESS LAST YEAR. Well, you have to be a 500,000-aire before that and a 100-000-aire before that and a penniless person with drive and an idea before that.

We skip steps and expect ourselves to keep up.

Focus on the next realistic stretch in front of you, not the end result when doing something new.

Make it a game that you can win.

The fact is, if you are hitting little milestones, and celebrating because you "won the game", it feels good. And you'll want to do more of it. And you'll build momentum. Until pretty soon, you're not half bad at it!

Likewise, if you are always putting unrealistic expectations on yourself, you will constantly be disappointed. It will seem as the world is out to get you and chances are slim that you'll enjoy or even carry on with that new skill. It will be a struggle.

Take yoga, for example. The instructors always say "let go of comparing yourself to others in the room" - but I know you still do it! At least, you will if you are not focused on yourself and your body. Instead of comparing your pose to the other yogis in the room, especially the beautiful ones with the nice tan and tatoos, notice what the pose feels like in your body. Compare it to what it felt like last time. Just notice.

I went to a yoga class with a friend.

What I noticed during the class: it was abnormally hot in the room, my friend was dying of the heat, my body felt so good to be stretched out, my poses were a little smaller than last time since I hadn't been in a few weeks, I love yoga, and this is a pretty hard class because of the heat.

What she noticed: it is too frickin' hot in here - dangerous even, holy sh*t - Jessica has a crazy Pigeon pose, no improvement from last week, it's way too hot in here, I can't do this.

Not a big shock that I enjoyed the class much more than she did.

I used to compare myself to others in the class, push myself to stretch at least as far as the "hard-cores" in the room, and feel embarrassed when I wasn't able to do a pose in the basic position. But who was that serving? I was doing it with bad technique, likely to injure myself, and my mind was loud with criticism and judgement, which ultimately just made me feel bad about myself.

Focusing on the positive, focusing on my body and what the poses feel like, really noticing how each pose feels and which muscles are engaged, and how it feels different from last week - suddenly gave me a whole new practice. It's not about them. It's about me. I noticed improvements each week and pretty soon I was working towards poses that were never in my repertoire. I focused on the next step in front of me, not the 20th step down the road.

So whatever you are doing - cooking, speaking up at work, yoga, training your pooch... make it a game you can win - or, at least, take it upon yourself to change the rules so that you always do. 

This is what I do...

This is what I do...

The blog is back baby!

Forgive me for going AWOL for a hot minute. I got confused in my brand and messaging and let that confusion stop me from writing, podcasting, instagramming and doing anything to productively move my business forward. This is the price you pay when you let perfectionism call the shots. When things don’t go as expected you freeze, until you can completely figure out your next step. This is an ugly habit I am trying to break. It disguises itself in busy schedules, distractions, other important business to attend to. But really it is doing anything else so you don’t have to think about the thing in front of you that might not be perfect. *GASP*

So moving forward, this is what I’ve decided in terms of blogging and podcasting content and topics:

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The Dream Creators Bootcamp Registration is Live

I am unbelievable excited to announce that registration for the first ever Dream Creators Bootcamp is live! Launching this bootcamp is a milestone moment for me and just reminds me of how far I've come in creating my dream life. Now, I'm going to help you do the same.

The 8-week, small-group class will guide you through a process of turning your idea into a full-fledged vision, finding the purpose and motivation behind your dream, creating a plan of action, designing your support network, and gaining confidence by building momentum step by step.

You will hold yourself accountable by carving out time and energy for you and doing the work. At the weekly show and tell you'll report on progress made or insights discovered during the past week.

If you like school supplies, creativity games and warm ups, deep and intimate conversations, and journalling - you are my kind of nerd and you'll really like this bootcamp!

Registration is now live on eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/dream-creators-bootcamp-registration-31835532936

I look forward to seeing you there :)

More Details on the Bootcamp Page

My Journey through the Art and Science of Coaching

Well it's Module 1 Day 1 (M1D1) and my mind has already been blown... not sure where we can go from here with 15 days of intensive left but I am so ready for the ride. To catch you up, I'm in Vancouver for the month of the July to take Modules 1 to 4 of The Art and Science of Coaching from Erickson International.

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How to Make the Most of Your Experiences

I'm headed to Vancouver for a month to take a Life Coaching Summer Intensive course with Erickson International - I am so excited!

It's going to be the first time I prioritize life coaching for a whole month and really get to dive into it. I've also been a bit stressed about wanting to make the most out of my time there and not waste the opportunity. My coach, Keith Macpherson, noticed I was stuck in future-worries mode, feeling like I needed to have a plan for my time in Vancouver and what my business would look like after I returned. He was able to help me get back to the here and now by turning the focus back to my trip. What happens after that is for future me to decide.

He gave me a simple assignment of writing down things I am going to do and things I am NOT going to do in Vancouver to make the most of my experience. Writing this out really helped calm my mind and also allow me to get excited and actually plan for the trip.

Here is my list:

What I am going to do vs. not going to do to make the most out of my $7K (holy shit!) experiential education and trip to Vancouver.

 

I AM GOING TO:

  • Talk to my instructors - get to know them, ask questions etc.,
  • Make friends in the class - make an effort to get to know everyone
  • Make friends with Barbara - the lady who is renting me a room
  • Write about what I've learned each day - hopefully post this as a blog
  • Take pictures of things I'm seeing and people I'm meeting - document the trip
  • Practice the concepts taught in class
  • Take notes
  • Call home - sometimes I forget to do this
  • Make plans with Vancouver Co-workers
  • Make jokes
  • Put myself out there
  • Go for walks / explore & do yoga
  • Smile at strangers - be the one to talk first
  • Go with the flow - say yes to adventures

I AM NOT GOING TO:

  • Let my saboteur (ego, fear etc.,) hold me back from meeting people
  • Stress about work outside of work
  • Worry about what other people think
  • Complain
  • Hide
  • Feel guilty
  • Feel like I'm not deserving enough to be there
  • Feel like I'm not good enough to be there

 

After writing out this list I am clear about how I need to show up in order to make the most out of my time there. I feel at ease, excited, and motivated to look up fun things for me to do outside of the course. The worry about wasting my experience is gone and I can move on with my life!

Do you have an event coming up that would be made more awesome if you make a Do vs Not Do list? Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

Do You Have a Life's Purpose?

Photo Credit to Eric Magnuson for "Freedom" - https://flic.kr/p/5GGybv

On the pursuit of happiness, you might be wondering "What is my life's purpose? Why am I here? What does it all mean?". Those are some pretty stinkin' big questions and if you are not careful, it's easy to get swept away in existential thought overload.

Well, the good news is you most definitely have a purpose. The even better news is you get to decide what that is! After all, it is your purpose.

Why do I think everyone has a purpose? Everyone has free will and is capable of living on purpose... therefore everyone has a purpose. Logic-ed!

Your purpose can change over time, at one point in your life it might be to contribute as much as you can to your workplace. Later on it may be to raise confident, kind children. After that, it may be to share your passion for interior design with the world on youtube.

My point is, you get to choose, and all the dots along the way contribute to the overall picture of your life. There is a common thread that weaves it's way from purpose point to point that will create a wonderful tapestry. It's just that you can only see how they all relate in hindsight. It doesn't have to be this all or nothing big-scary thing that you have to discover.

OK great. I have a purpose. How do I know what that is? 

Like I mentioned above, the cool part is you get to choose your purpose.(Side note: if you believe there is fate or destiny behind your purpose - you can't go wrong with choosing since it's inevitable that you'll figure it out anyway!) When you've really taped into what your intuition is calling for you to do it will feel resonant. There are no wrong answers and over time you can continue to hone in to something truly authentic.

When you act in alignment with your purpose, it will feel really really good. You may get goosebumps or a high of excitement or just want to shout from the rooftops how awesome the thing that just happened was. For me, when I'm on the right track to discovering a purpose, I'll get a boost of energy and excitement. If I'm doing something I have already determined is a purpose of mine, I'll feel love, peace and wisdom. Complete trust with myself and fulfilling the purpose I am bringing to the moment. It feels right.

If you are trying to figure out what your current purpose is, it may take some experimentation. Keep moving, keep breathing, keep doing. Follow the things that are fun, exciting, and energizing. Turn away from the things that are tiring, troubling, and boring. Schedule time to actually do your favourite things.

Your purpose usually involves something you are bringing to the world.. how do you like to help people? What are people coming to you for? What feels good in your exchanges with others? How do you make others smile?

As you start to curate the things, relationships, and habits you have in your life, you'll start to live more purposely and it will make it easier to discover your purpose. You can also identify a purpose for each area of your life, what do you bring to the table in your work, at home, with friends, in your community etc., They may have a common theme which you can combine, or they may not.

My current purpose

When you have a good idea of who you are, how you are showing up in the world and how you want to continue to contribute, it will be helpful to create a purpose statement for yourself.

For example, currently my purpose statement is "I am the fearless wisdom that teaches women to shine bright."

Each word in my statement has been carefully crafted to mean something particular to me. When I go into situations where I really want to share my gifts I think "fearless wisdom" to keep me on track so I don't shy away. I can apply it to different situations - at a Ladies Learning Code events I may be literally teaching women to code and learn a new skill, during figure skating coaching I encourage my skaters to believe in themselves and while I'm life coaching I'm helping my clients become the best version of themselves they can be.

One recent situation that I used this purpose was for a bachelorette party. We were going to a Burlesque studio to learn a dance. I knew before going in that this would be uncomfortable for most ladies. First of all, not everyone is a dancer and used to picking up choreography... let alone sexy burlesque dancing where you need a certain amount of confidence to pull off the moves.. and not everyone knows each other well.

I decided to go in with the intention or purpose of helping the room feel more comfortable and confident in their moves. Once in the studio, it was exactly as I predicted, tons of nervous energy. The instructor really should have been the one to put everyone at ease and make it a comfortable environment but she didn't actually say anything - not even an introduction..

It was going to be up to me. I decided to stand near the front and really try to be confident in the dance and my own moves - even though I've never moved like that and would definitely feel very un-confident having to do them in any other setting.

I was hoping my confidence and nonchalant attitude would help the others get into it. I tried to make jokes and lighten things up when I got the chance. It wasn't perfect but I'd say I made some sort of impact. And while I was channeling my "fearless wisdom" helping the others "shine bright" it really didn't take any extra thinking or worry, it just flowed.

To wrap this up, your purpose isn't this big mysterious thing you need to go and find or pay someone to tell you. It comes from you and is truly what you want. It'll take practice to hear what your heart is telling you, so keep at it. Keep doing your favourite things, keep sharing them with others and I promise you, you will be living on purpose - you will feel it.

Bonus Exercises:

Need some homework to practice finding your purpose? Try writing these questions out by hand and writing down the answers you feel in your gut.

What was the last thing I was really excited about?

Why was I excited about it?

What is my favourite way to help someone?

What feels good, easy and effortless?

Who am I jealous of? (Jealously can reveal inner desires).

What do I love to do, just because?

What kind of impact do I want to make?

What do I want to be known for?

I'm sure you can think of a few more along these lines...

 

The Paralyzing Fear of Epic Change

Making a change, depending on its size, can be a very scary thing.

Your mind will "helpfully" come up with many reasons and distractions why you don't have the time, or the energy, or the resources to make that change... but the truth is.. if it's something you really, really want, deep down inside, those distractions won't be enough. They won't fill the hole that yearning has created in you. You are hungry for something more.

Not to mention the consequences of that change! "What will people say?!" "There will be rioting in the streets." "Everyone is going to think I'm a phony." "People are going to hate me"... Whatever extreme b*llsh*t your monkey mind is spewing.

I've experienced the great unknown of epic change a few times in my life. One of the scariest parts about it is that to incorporate this new thing into your life, it actually means getting rid of something that currently exists in your life. Which can be really hard to let go of. For example, the smaller change of going for a walk every morning after not moving for months means that you are giving up staying up too late on social media, or perhaps being super productive as soon as you wake up (like you really were anyways).

Where as the bigger change like deciding to leave a partner or change career paths or move to another part of the world can be WAYYYYYY scarier because you are saying goodbye to so many more 'knowns' in your life. It's not just one little habit that's changing - it's the world as you know it!

But you know what?

It is better on the other side.

If you have huge amounts of fear built up around a change you are thinking of but at the same time you CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT... That means it's time for you to move! It's your inner wisdom screaming at you to listen to what is best for you. While your scared ego tries to keep things "safe" and the same.

I've had this torture with relationships (especially unhealthy ones). You can see all the reasons your situation isn't working but you start to doubt anything could ever be better. "You wouldn't be able to find another partner... He is the love of your life... You've invested way too much time, money and energy into this relationship, it's too late to back out now... What will your family think?!.. What will his family think!?"... excuse after excuse.

It took my parents telling me "You know that you can leave, you are not trapped, and we are here for you." for me to even start to believe that was a real option.

My point is, I finally got out, and it sucked for a while.. but at the same time, there was so much peace inside of me. It felt right. I slowly took steps to rebuild my life in the direction that I wanted and it has been amazing since.

There is no doubt in my mind that it was the right decision for me at the time.

Looking back on it, it is SO OBVIOUS. My intuition was screaming at me for months but I was so scared about what that change actually meant and who I might be making mad. When in reality, it meant that all this internal conflict and disorder would calm down. It meant I would be happy. It meant I would be on track.

Three years later, I'm having new fear of change come up. Something I know will be good for me but at the same time is completely terrifying.

It's really hard when you are in it. I've heard Jess Lively refer to it as drowning. The ego and intuition are so aggressively at battle it is hard to think straight. Some days are exciting and full of possibilities and some days are hopeless and trying to just accept what is.

How do you get out of it?

I really don't think the internal confusion will stop until you do something to satisfy that desire for change. Maybe it doesn't have to be in the way you originally thought... is there a creative way to get the new thing and keep the old thing?

What has helped me, is identifying what the fears are that I am having. Asking myself, "What am I afraid of?" and "Why?" and "Why is that?" and "Why?" again and finally "and what else?". Once those fears are out of your head and on paper, it is much easier to look at them and judge their validity.

Another exercise that really helped put things into perspective is a good ol' fashioned Pros and Cons list. I divided a sheet into four quadrants. The top left is "Change I want to make", top right is "Not changing". Then the top half of the page is the "Pros" for doing those things, the bottom half of the page is the "Cons".

Writing it out this way made things pretty painstakingly clear. The Pros for doing the thing I want were all positive sentences, in line with my values. They sound amazing when read out loud and give me excited shivers. The cons for doing the thing I want were all fears with weak arguments.

The pros for not doing the thing I want are just buying more time and maintaining the status quo. Nothing exciting or spectacular there. The cons for not changing were full of things going against my values and feelings of authenticity.

In this matrix, it is pretty frickin' clear what the heart wants, and what the next step must be - that is, when I'm are ready to take it...

Your Intuition vs. Your Ego

This is a new concept for most people as we don't often take the time to really dive in and listen to what is going on inside of us.

The fact is, many times we can be internally conflicted. Having a desire to try something new, say take singing lessons, but also having so much fear and internal chatter about why you can't do that new thing that you are paralyzed - "you won't be good enough", "people will think you are a bad singer" etc. The two sides of this tug-of-war is your ego and your intuition. Many other names could be used for each - such as inner critic, saboteur, vampire voices, superego for your ego and inner wisdom, your captain, your truth for your intuition - just pick the term that you like best.

Your ego is the part of you that wants you to be liked, be successful, fit in, taken care of and actively goes out of it's way to give you "helpful" thoughts to make sure you are safe. Thoughts like 'you need to be thinner', 'people won't like you if you do x..', 'people will think you are stupid, if you ask that question', etc. These thoughts are doing a great job of keeping you safe from hypothetical ridicule and were also necessary when you were a child to act in ways your parents approved of.. but now they are less than useful and are actually holding you back from what you truly want.

Your intuition is your inner wisdom, the part of you that knows what you truly want and need and just wants you to feel at peace. Often thought of as your gut or heart instincts. Your intuition has a softer voice than your ego and it can be easier to ignore at first. But over time, if you are not listening, your intuition will start to make a fuss and you'll have more internal resistance about where you are. You'll have a strong longing or feeling that you need to be doing this other thing, but your ego is going to justify reasons why that doesn't make sense. That feeling isn't going to go away until you start trusting and listening to your intuition.

Taming your Ego:

Great, so all we need to do is ignore our egos and do what our intuition says to do? Yes, but it will definitely take some practice to get there. We often don't realize our ego is criticizing us until we take a step back and look at our thoughts. The key to getting out from your ego's grasp is to be able to identify when it is speaking, and justify why that doesn't make sense.

Ways to know if your ego is currently beating on you:

  1. Do you feel bad for no apparent reason?
  2. Are you making excuses or justifications for not doing something you want?
  3. Are you holding some part of you back in your work or social interactions?
  4. Are you worrying about some future event?

In these situations it is helpful to write down the thoughts that are coming up. You can even draw a picture of your ego or 'saboteur' that is speaking these thoughts to you. Giving it a face and a name will help separate the thoughts from you. Meditation is also very helpful to observe sabotaging thoughts.

Once you've identified the thoughts you can come up with valid arguments for why they have absolutely no merit. "Thank you for your concern Mr. Ego but that thought does not hold up because....".

There are other techniques as well for toning down your ego but the important parts are to call it out and move past it.

Tuning into your Intuition:

Many people are not in practice of listening to their intuition. Their ego has been so bossy for so long that they've accepted its criticism as truth. Your intuition has all the love and knowledge in the universe and will tell you exactly what you need to know when you talk to it.

You can start to practice listening to it by practicing 'gut' decisions. Instead of pondering for a long time, when someone says "What do you want to do tonight?" or "What flavour of ice cream would you like?" just pick whatever comes to you first. Practice it in the little decisions that don't have true consequences. The more you do this, the easier it will be to answer questions with your gut instinct. You'll be able to fill out personal questionnaires quickly because you just know the answers already.

Another exercise for connecting to your intuition would be to simply ask it a question. Sit quietly, with your feet on the floor, place your hands on your heart or over your gut (where ever you connect to more), close your eyes. Ask your question and WAIT. Don't try to answer it - that's the ego... just wait for what comes to you. It will feel peaceful and resonant. You may have to start off with yes or no questions and work your way up to open ended.

Another popular exercise would be to journal to your intuition. Write down a question and again wait for the answer to come. Write down your next question. Have a conversation with it. If you are not used to connecting to your feelings and inner wisdom this will feel cheesy at first - the response from your intuition may seem cheesy to you as well.. but it will be real.

Responses I've received from my intuition have been "go help people" when I asked "what do I do next?", and "to be happy" when I've asked it "what do I want". Messages that may not mean much to outsiders but have actually created a lot of inspiration and movement in my life.

I'm also new to learning about intuition and ego but I find it fascinating. These are the two biggest concepts lately that have really helped shape my behaviour and move me into showing up in the world in an authentic way. I'd love to hear about your experiences with either of them and if any of the exercises worked for you. Leave a comment!

The Fear of Not Being Liked

The Fear of Not Being Liked

"Don't care what people think", they say. "Dance like no one is watching". "Sing like no one is listening". You've heard it all before. Easier said than done. People ARE watching, is all you can think.

Have you ever gone to the middle of a dance floor and really danced like you would in the intimate safety of your living room? Skipping from side to side, arms flailing, grinding the air or spinning in circles - whatever your signature move. There are two times I can think of that this has happened to me and in both instances I had something "helpful" in my system to let me not care about the people staring - I've never done this sober. In fact, I've always felt caught in an awful, fake, trapped situation when I was being the "DD" on the dance floor. Trying not to make eye contact with people, awkwardly doing a non-offensive side to side step to a song you vaguely know.

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